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The Chosen One Hardcover – May 12, 2009

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 480L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312555113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312555115
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,052,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–In this thriller, 13-year-old Kyra lives in an isolated polygamist cult. Life in the compound is as dry as the surrounding desert, more confining than the chain-link fence on its perimeter. But Kyra finds small freedoms despite the tightly controlled communal environment and is able to slip outside to wander the desert. There she chances upon a friendly book-mobile driver who opens the world of children's literature to her. Kyra even begins a flirtation with her classmate, Joshua, a dangerous sin for which they will both pay dearly. The brutal leader, Prophet Childs, has plans for Kyra and will brook no disobedience. He assigns her to be the seventh wife of her own 60-year-old uncle. Repelled, she resists. She and Joshua are badly beaten and she is told that other young people have been killed for taking a similarly defiant stand. Kyra's loving father is powerless to help her and counsels her to accept her fate, but she cannot. The story ends in a high-speed chase with the Prophet's goons gunning for her as she improbably races toward freedom in the blood-spattered book mobile. Has the friendly driver been killed on her account? Is anyone looking for him? What retribution will be taken on her family and what kind of a life lies ahead for her? These unsettling questions are not addressed, but these omissions do not diminish the relief of her successful escape. For a more layered examination of the internal as well as external struggles of a young teen coming of age in a polygamist community, see Shelley Hrdlitschka's Sister Wife (Orca, 2008).–Carolyn Lehman, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Taking a story “ripped from the headlines,” Williams looks inside a polygamist cult and the dangers it poses for one girl. Kyra and her father, three mothers, and 20 siblings live in an isolated community under the thumb of a prophet, who controls every aspect of his apostles’ lives. The most shocking intrusion of all comes when the prophet decrees that Kyra is to become the wife of her 60-year-old uncle. A secret patron of a local mobile library, Kyra knows there’s a world away from the compound she might escape to, but first she pins her hopes on her father’s ability to change the prophet’s mind. Instead, her family is threatened, and the stakes for her refusal to marry are raised. The clandestine relationship Kyra is having with one of the compound’s teenage boys is a romance more convenient than convincing (everyone is carefully watched except this duo, it seems). Contrivances notwithstanding, this is a heart pounder, and readers will be held, especially as the danger escalates. Williams’ portrayals of the family are sharp, but what’s most interesting about this book is how the yearnings and fears of a character so far from what most YAs know will still seem familiar and close. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this to teens and adults.
Cathe Fein Olson
The Chosen One is a powerful story that will make readers more self examining and open minded.
Rachael Stein
Very well written, with very interesting characters.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Pacey1927 VINE VOICE on April 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have had a mini-facination with pologymst cults and I thought it was very interesting that there was a young adult novel written about it. I read these stories and am amazed time and time again by how strong these women have to be to leave their families, their religion, their entire lives, to start out with nothing. This story was very similar to the autobiographical stories that I have read, and if possible, it was every bit as heartwrenching. Kyra, is an almost 13 year old, living with her father and her mother (father's third wife) and an large assortment of brothers and sisters. She has recently begun a 'secret' flirtation with a boy on the compound who has told Kyra that he wants to 'chose' her to be his wife, his only wife. The two have heard stories, and seen what happens to those who don't follow 'God's' rules...really the so called Prophet's rules. Kyra's other 'sin'? She secretly meets Patrick, the mobile library driver each week to sneak a book to read. Then one day the prophet comes to vist, something he hasn't ever done before, and announces to the family that he has had a vision from God. God's revelation has told him that Kyra is to be married to Brother Hyram. Brother Hyram happens to be Kyra's sixty year old uncle. Kyra is to be Hyram's seventh wife. Aghast, Kyra vows not to let this happen. Unfortunately the Chosen Ones will stop at nothing to make sure the marriage goes through. In the past, they haven't been above murder to make sure things go their way. What happens to Kyra and those who love her is heartbreaking. Carol Lynch Williams does a standout job of making Kyra's family is clear Kyra's father and all three of his wives care deeply for her. They take some risks for her, but they never quite go far enough.Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By My2Cents TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2009
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The story The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams was inspired by a true story told by a girl who escaped from a Polygamist compound. While this book is a work of fiction I fear the story itself rings true to much of what goes on in this type of cult.

In this story thirteen year old Kyra has one father, three mothers and some twenty brothers and sisters with two more on the way. Books are banned in the remote compound where she lives, as books are said to be the work of Satan. Kyra sneaks off to the Mobile Library on wheels where she learns she can borrow books. She only takes (1) book to start so that she will be able to hide it from everyone. Kyra also has been sneaking off to meet Joshua a boy she has come to adore, and the two are planning for a future together despite the risk of meeting in secret. One day everything changes.

Kyra and her family learn that the "Prophet" will be visiting. Everyone suspects that this means her father will be chosen as an Apostle, but that is not what happens. The Prophet tells them he has had a vision and that Kyra has been chosen to be the "seventh" wife of her 60 year old uncle in just four weeks!

Does Kyra try to run off with the boy she loves, even though she may never see her family again? What happens to her and her family if she gets caught?

This story brings up important moral questions that we seem to be hearing about more and more. It seems to me that this one would make an excellent book for classroom discussion at the high school level as the story contains various important themes: personal freedom, religious cults, and societies norms.

The Chosen One was an excellent audio book that I enjoyed a lot. I did find the ending a bit disappointing but I would still recommend this book for both young adults and adults alike.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 5, 2009
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
From the back of the box:

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. That is, without questioning them much - if you don't count her secret visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.
But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle - who already has six wives - Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

When I received this box in the mail with the five CDs inside, I thought if nothing else, it would help pass some windshield time, while I was behind the wheel in traffic. However, as the story of Kyra, the little girl growing up in a polygamist family unfolded, I found myself more and more interested in finding out what would happen next.

This is a story written for young adults, but I enjoyed it as a not-so-young adult and plan to pass it on to a few younger people that I know. When the story was finished, I found myself wanting to know more, wanting the story to continue, and I just sat there in my car, in my driveway, listening to the dead silence of the completed CD. Then an interview started between the author, Carol Lynch Williams and Dr. Michael Tunnell. I listened to the whole interview there in my driveway, which I found very interesting as well.

There are probably going to be a number of parents and teachers who think that the subject matters presented in this book are too mature for young adults.
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